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Kerala: CPI(M) relents, to field Achuthanandnan
The 87-year-old veteran will be contesting from Malampuzha assembly constituency.
Thiruvananthapuram: In a volte-face that came after widespread protests from party rank and file, CPI(M) in Kerala on Friday reversed its decision not to field Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan and brought back the party's most popular face to lead LDF in the April 13 assembly polls.
The dramatic turn, a replay of the 2006 scenario, came after the central leadership directed the state unit to revoke its decision, factoring in widespread protests, particularly from party leaders and cadre.
The 87-year-old veteran will be contesting from his present Malampuzha assembly constituency in Palakkad district, as per the list of candidates announced by CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan here.
"Achuthanandan is an undisputed leader. Your question has no relevance," Vijayan, a bitter rival of the Chief Minister, told reporters when asked about the sudden turnaround.
The faction-ridden state unit dominated by Vijayan had sealed the fate of the CPI-M stalwart on Wednesday when the party secretariat and state committee meetings decided to keep Achuthanandan away from contesting.
The decision, however, pushed the party into a deep crisis with workers taking to the streets condemning the dumping of Achuthanandan.
Many district committees of CPI-M also aired their strong feelings against the decision.
The developments were taken seriously by the top rung of the party and members of the politburo held two rounds of discussions in New Delhi since yesterday and sent a clear message to the state secretariat for reversing its decision.
In 2006 also, Achuthanandan made a dramatic comeback to the electoral field thwarting the moves of the rival faction led by Vijayan which initially managed to keep him off the fray.
The move to dump Achuthanandan sparked widespread protests at that time also, compelling the central leadership to prevail upon the state unit to bring him back.
Achuthanandan is seen as the "best bet" of the LDF to face the challenge posed by the Congress-led UDF, which had put up a splendid performance in the last Lok Sabha and civic polls.
Despite his advanced age and machinations of his rivals, a series of developments in the last couple of months have boosted Achuthanandan's image as a crusader against corruption and morality in public life.
Imprisonment of Kerala Congress (B) leader and former minister R Balakrishna Pillai in a graft case and renewed interest in palmolein import graft case had boosted Achuthanandan's stocks.
Other top leaders who figure in the party list included Home Minister and PB member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan-Thalassery, ministers Thomas Isaac (Alappuzha), Elamaram Kareem (Beypore), MA Baby (Kundara), PK Gurudasan (Kollam), S Sarma(Vypeen), AK Balan (Tharoor), G Sudhakaran (Amalpauuzha) and Assembly Speaker K Radhakrishnan (Chelakkara).
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